Oliver Royale, Knoxville, 4/12/22

exterior – 5 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902

Oliver Royale is one of the two restaurants in the historic boutique Oliver Hotel. They serve new American cusine with a focus on seasonal and regional products in the more upscale and smaller of the 2 settings.  There is an entrance from the Market Square as well as within the hotel.  The building dates back to 1876 but has been very updated to include a bench seating along the walls with tables in the middle for the first 2/3’s of the place and a u-shaped bar with stools for the last third.  Windows to the street, faint music in the background, lowered lighting, acid washed mirrors on the walls, sound panels lining the ceiling, and a enormous skylight make up the room.. The small bare wood tables are set fairly close and there are a few tables available on a front outside patio section.  It’s nicely done but comes off a bit sterile.  Service was friendly but the pacing that started out so fast slowed way down as the evening wore on.  The food was mixed.  There is also an old ‘speak-easy’ in the hotel if you want more drinks afterward.


Frankie shared the restaurant details
menu cover
menu 1
menu 2
dessert 1
dessert 2
wine front
wine back
Frankie looked around



Confit Pork Belly  was served with fingerling potato salad, Benton’s bacon, scallions, red onion, whole-grain mustard, sorghum bbq sauce and pickled sweet peppers.  The belly itself was a little over-cooked  and parts were pretty chewy.  It was an attractive dish with the bright peppers adding much color and taste.  The sauce was on the sweet side, reminiscent of an Asian barbecue.   It was pretty good.

confit pork belly


Baby lettuces were mixed with citrus supremes, honeycrisp apple, red grapes, golden raisins, granola, local honey and charred orange vinaigrette.  It was nicely dressed  and very fresh tasting.  The good mix of ingredients offered lots of flavors and between the granola and raisins there was also plenty of texture.  This was really good.

baby lettuces


A side of cornbread with jalapeños, cheddar and scallions was served as 2 wedges with softened whipped butter on the side.  The server said it was made daily but this had been re-heated as it was dry and crumbly with dried edges.  With lots of the side butter it was edible.

cornbread and butter


Colossal Shrimp Scampi was mixed with broccolini, cherry tomatoes, confit garlic, spaghetti and basil in a lemon butter white wine sauce. The pasta was more linguini than spaghetti and cooked nicely but the dish also had some white chunks that were like undisolved thickener – maybe they were the confit garlic – but they were yukky.  The huge shrimp were delicious and cooked nicely and the sauce was quite good.

Colossal Shrimp Scampi


Confit shortrib was plated with charred tomato polenta cake, heirloom baby carrots, sping onions, pickled sweet peppers and a demi-glace.  It reminded me a lot of the earlier pork belly and a good server would have steered the diner from ordering both.  The beef here was well done with a lot of crisp on the exterior.  The sweet sauce contained the same trio of sweet peppers along with a number of dull vegetables.  The polenta below the beef would only rate okay, definitely not great.

Confit short rib


Carrot Cake was a triple layer cake with cream cheese frosting, walnuts, white chocolate curls and salted caramel sauce.   Finally they got this one spot on.  The very moist cake had plenty of interior and exterior frosting to mix with it.  The drizzle of caramel and nuts added deliciousness to the mix.  This was wonderfully fresh and delicious.

carrot cake
from the side
Frankie wondered where it went


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